Life after Lame

I’m sure many of us have been there. You’re riding and something feels wrong. Are you pulling on the reins too much? Is your seat not right? Are you out of balance? I naturally go to what I’m doing wrong (which is the usual suspect), but this time, it was Chance’s leg that gave out.

Chance is my steady Eddie…the Golden Retriever of horses; forever an ambassador for the equine species to kids and adult beginners and husbands alike. To see him out of action breaks my heart. His gait was never completely even, but this seems different, like we won’t ever do that training level dressage class we were working towards.

Chance has a bad stifle (the rescue where I adopted him said it was because of an injury as a colt…we’ll never know for sure). There seems to be quite a bit of arthritis in the joint, and it’s basically taken all summer to for him to feel up to trotting at a good clip for more than 20 minutes; we’ve yet to canter.

I’m left wondering if he’ll ever be back to normal, but then I think will I? My back and neck have arthritis and hurt every other day. I’ve been feeling carpal tunnel start in my wrists of late, and I have to struggle to keep off that last 5 pounds these last few years. As we age together, I’m happy to fight for every canter, trot and trail ride we have left. With enough Advil for me and bute for him, there is definitely life after lame!

xo

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Hermés Craftsmanship

Hermés craftsman, Monsieur Goblet, is featured in this documentary short.

I was mesmerized watching how much detail, work, time, perfection and ultimately love go into Hermés bespoke saddles. In fact, it was so beautiful, I felt the need to share it with my equestrian readers. Monsieur Goblet’s every hand movement is like watching a musician on their instrument. When he’s done, his masterpiece can be ridden in for generations.

Hermés has a wonderfully curated YouTube channel; definitely binge-worthy. The saddle above is the Hermés Arpege Dressage Saddle.

Simply amazing.

xo

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Story of an exceptional saddle-maker at Hermès

My Fav Instagram Equestrian Influencers

I scroll through the equestrian posts on Instagram almost religiously. The following are my favorites and must-follows for horsey people of all disciplines :).

Heels Down Magazine (@heelsdownmag)

This is the Instagram page for the famous Heels Down Magazine and pod cast. Part Instagram photography and video feed and part online magazine, they link to their informative equestrian articles and podcasts. This is perfect for seasoned equestrians and newbies alike!

My Equestrian Style (@myequestrianstyle)

Overflowing with beautiful equestrian photography, gorgeous clothes and a super cute host, My Equestrian Style is a fun and informative feed. Keep up with Bethany for the latest in hunter/jumper style!

Fork to Fabulous (@forktofabulous)

New to the equestrian scene but not new to Instagram, Suzane’s lifestyle and health page is filled with gorgeous photography, inspirational healthy dishes and adorable animal and family pics. Follow her story for new motivational content daily!

xo

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Go Stallside, with Matthew Eliott, DVM

I worked at New England Equine Practice, a large referral equine hospital in Putnam County New York for two years, and in that time, I met Dr. Matthew Eliott, one of their practicing equine veterinarians. I spent most of my days in the equine pharmacy, which gave me an opportunity to chat with most of the techs and doctors; his was always a friendly face when he came through the door. One day, he mentioned that he wrote a book, and being very gracious, gave me a signed copy.

I swore to myself that I would read it, and as soon as my schedule allowed, I grabbed the chance.

Stallside, My Life with Horses and Other Characters, is a really fun and interesting book. Dr. Eliott takes his readers all around the globe, following his life growing up in Jamaica and New York, his internship working with zoo animals in Ohio to working as an equine vet in California.

These memories are wonderfully entwined with vet stories from the Dr.’s point of view; all creatures big and bigger, of sorts. What I really found entertaining was not just his description of what vets do when they work up your horse, but WHY they do it with medical explanations (in ways the layman can understand).

When Dr. Eliott isn’t out on farm calls, he spends time riding his steeds and tending to his gorgeous Riverhorse Farm, in North Salem, NY.

Horse lovers, and animal lovers in general, will find this a fun, informative and great book to read anywhere, but I suggest it would be a refreshing summer read while sitting on a bale of hay next to your best four legged friend, eating carrots and sipping rose!

xo

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First Show in Years

My son Dane has ridden horses for years, but only recently decided to start showing and get a little more serious. This past Sunday, we took him to his first show at Gardnertown Farms across the Hudson in Newburgh, NY. I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me!  He looked very dashing in his show coat and tie. I told him it would look better with a sparkle unicorn t-shirt (like the ones you can buy in my store) but he disagreed <wink>. 

Dane has been training for showing with Angelo Danza at Three Phase Equestrian Center / AD Sporthorses, and it’s been amazing to watch him improve and ready himself for this level of intensity. I’ve always been proud of his ability to bond with horses, especially the very forward and sweet thoroughbred Greta (show name “Game Face”), he was riding today. 

The first class out of three, was a crazy course with 14 jumps.  I looked at the map and realized that this event was almost more about memory than equitation. The rain was varying from light to medium and was probably a blessing as it would have been very hot in the afternoon sun. The small crowd of watchers gathered under the trees by the event ring as the riders strenuously repeated the course in their heads, “red, red, outside, diagonal, oxer – no, brown!”  

The first rider rode and cleared, though her horse was an unwilling participant, shying and fighting the whole way. I hoped Dane was paying close attention but I’m sure the first event butterflies were not helping him concentrate. After a couple more riders, it was his turn. 

The whistle blew and he was off.  One jump and then another went smoothly but Greta was excited and running super fast. Angelo was calling out instructions from ringside, mostly to “slow down!” but Dane was struggling to steady the pace.

Agh! SLOW DOWN!!!

Eventually around the twelfth jump he made a wrong turn and the beep-beep of the “rider off course” ended his first run. But for a first run it was great – fast (too fast!) and he had almost finished. To add to the excitement he knocked over a standard on the way out (still going fast) and Angelo went to pick it up for him. 

Dane was clearly frustrated but we told him it was an amazing first run. The rain drizzled on and the riders cycled through the second round until it was Dane’s turn again. They had changed the jump order and he nearly got it except for a wrong turn right at the end. Beep-beep!  So close, but Greta was feeling more confident, as was Dane. 

As the last round got going my husband worked with Dane to memorize the jump order as they watched the other riders. Then it was time to run again. Dane made one jump after another . I heard Greta hit a pole in the middle but I didn’t see if it fell. A tight turn into the final jump (“let her see it!” called Angelo) and he had finished his first successful run! Great Father’s Day Gift!

Great jump, but squinting from the pouring rain….

The riders went to put the horses back in the trailer while we waited for the results. We knew he wouldn’t be placing in the first two incomplete rounds but then I heard them announce the third, “First Place, Dane Beels and Gameface”. A blue ribbon on his first competition!  The other kids cleaned up as well! He makes me one proud horse Mom!

The blue ribbon round 🙂

Retail Therapy

I have fun news for my local readers: some local and very popular tack stores have given me the opportunity to launch my line in their beautiful shops. We’ve collaborated and curated specific Tack and Tweed apparel and accessories for clients in and around the Hudson Valley, Westchester and Connecticut.

The first store to graciously feature my apparel is Saddle Manor in Patterson, NY, which serves Northern Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield Counties. Owner Donna Woods will be sure to take care of your every need with a smile and warm welcome. She has a wide variety of beautiful saddles, apparel, tack and anything else your horse or horse lover could possibly need! Stop in Monday through Saturday 10am – 5pm. 2974 Route 22, Patterson, NY 12563 (845) 878-3881.

The Horse Connection is in Bedford – New York’s horsiest town. It was started by owner Natasha Tarasov in 1992 as a mobile tack store offering the best products at the best price with the best service. Her store is a popular staple in Bedford’s historic downtown. Treat yourself to lunch in town at Bedford 234 or the Bedford Post Inn after buying your horse-crazy girl one of my super soft sweatshirts ;).

Open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm. 38 Village Green, Bedford, NY (914) 234-2047

The next two stores are local famous farm markets and have taken on some of my more artsy apparel. We feature the stunning equestrian watercolors of the talented Lorisa Zorina. Please drop by and enjoy some cider donuts and their very own hard cider (yum!) at Harvest Moon Orchard in North Salem.

Open daily summer and fall 9am – 6pm. 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY (914) 485-1210.

Also take some time and visit the stunning Rochambeau Farm in Mt. Kisco, NY. Your kids will love to feed their incredibly happy farm animals while you will enjoy munching on their own fresh produce and browsing local products, like my friend Susanne Nastasi’s line of homemade, all natural laundry wash, aptly branded The Farm Babe.

Open Wednesday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm. 214 West Patent Road Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 (914) 241-8090.

If you are in the area, please support these amazing local stores who are holding their own against the big online retailers. There is something so wonderful about going in to a real store, trying a pair of breeches on for a perfect fit, touching soft and luxurious garments, smelling leather tack and most importantly, creating a genuine relationship with local business owners who truly care and contribute to our communities.

xo

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Still Love this Video

I loved the Shramms years ago, and I still think they’re awesome!! Remember this oldie but goodie??

What was your favorite EventionTV video?

xo

L

Happy New Year!

happynewyearcolts

For the New Year’s celebration, I’ll be kicking it here at home. My daughter has a nasty cold, so babysitters are out. This has, however, given me some time to shop online New Year’s Eve sales for equestrian equipment while sipping some bubbly.

Post Christmas, there are some great deals, so if you have a moment between parties, check ’em out. 

Need new muck boots? Normally, these Noble Outfitter’s Ladies MUDS are over $100, but you can get them at Dover Saddlery for 39.95, and yes, there are multiple sizes and colors still available. 

NobleOutfittersBoots39.95

This is an adorable vest by Riding Sport at Dover, normally $40 on sale for $14.99, pretty great price for a pretty quilted vest. Different colors and sizes available (this one matches the boots). 

RidingSportQuiltedVest

It seems as if we’ve had (at least here on the East Coast) more days of rain than anything else. I’m about to build an arc…anyway, this rain jacket (it’s men’s, but I’m sure anyone can wear it. Beval Saddlery regularly $199 on sale for $49.99 – pretty good!!

BevalRainCoat59

If you’re looking for something for your four legged friend(s), like a new snuggly winter blanket or sheet, type on over to Statelinetack.com and you can shop their big blanket blowout. I found this really nice Tough-11200D Snuggit Tough blanket from $69.95 (normally $156):

turnout

And, if it’s not too late…try to go out and find this for your celebration or drink it at the barn with your buddies, Dark Horse Brut, $13.99.

DarkHorseSparklingWine

xo,

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Merry Christmas!

christmashorseandbaby

May your holiday be filled with love and happiness, and yes, maybe a horse or two :). We spent the days before Christmas with our buddies Chance and Ron, who didn’t complain that they got their presents a couple days early.  A belly full of candy canes kept Ronnie from wanting to work ;). Today, after a big present-opening extravaganza, our tummies will be treated to a prime rib roast (Happy Christmas to me), some hot toddies and old-timey Christmas music. Nothing better.

Please share how you spend Christmas with your family (or post videos/pictures) in the comments – I love to hear different family traditions.

xo

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Fitting Your Horse Rug, Blanket or Sheet

Fitting A Blanket to Your Horse

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Hermes DouDou Winter Blanket 1850 usd

Now that the weather has started to turn colder, we’re all starting to pull our musty horse blankets out from deep storage. If you’re looking to purchase a new blanket, or even searching through used blankets, getting the best available size is very important. If a blanket doesn’t fit correctly, it can cause discomfort (even rubs or sores), get stuck on a fence or tree branch, or even completely fall off and to get trampled.

When I purchased my first blanket (after adopting Chance), I got it on super sale from eBay, and prayed that it would fit my horse. It didn’t, and I couldn’t return it. Good money thrown down the drain. After that, I decided to actually measure my sweet boy and find something in his size range.

Use the following tips to get the best size for your steeds and for a final fitting, please see the guide below from Your Horse Magazine. They posted a very comprehensive and easy-to-follow tutorial on YouTube.

Measuring Tips

  1. Make sure your horse is standing square.
  2. Have a soft tape measure or a long string available (having a friend to help is always nice!)
  3. Start measuring at the center of the chest (between the two chest muscles).
  4. Stretch out the tape measure or string up the broad side of the horse and all the way around to where the hair starts to hit the buttock.
  5. Keep the tape measure tight and level for the best measurement.
  6. This measurement will be your horse’s blanket size, in inches. (If you used a string, mark on the string where you started and ended and then measure the string between these marks.)
  7. If you are between sizes, order a size up for the best fit.
  8. Remember that size varies between brands, so do a little research on the brand’s sizing for best results.

 

Now the shopping fun begins!! Look at all the cute blanket choices that are available these days:

Post tips or your favorite blankets below!

xo

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Apparently, Bucking IS the Trend

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Many brands are having horsey moments, and the house of Chloé seems to be leading the trend. Their collection is a “bit” whimsical and I really think it’s cute.

Without shame, they’ve covered entire outfits with rearing horse embroidery.  My favorite item of the collection has to be the Chloe Bomber Jacket; 70’s inspired and indulgently “little-girly”. I normally don’t dig velvet (reminds me of the monstrosity I called my senior prom dress), but this just looks fun to wear. At $2750, the price tag is out of reach for normal girls like me, but maybe someday I can buy it off price at an outlet ;).

I also love the bags that they have to match this collection;

which (unlike the clothing) will last more than one season. For horsey people like me, these bags will last a lifetime.

The simple and elegant American brand Derek Lam, has captured equestrian eyes with this amazing dress.  It features a simple cap sleeve suede top, with an elegant horse appliqué on the midi length skirt. I would wear this all day every day! It’s another high ticket item, at $2650. I’m searching for lookalikes for less money,; I’ll post updates if/when I find any. dereklamskirtneimanmarcusDerekLamCapsleevesuedehorseskirtdress

What do you think? Would you wear any of these items (assuming we could all afford them)? Comment below!

xo

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Riding Conditions Bleh? – Time for a Longe Lesson…

IMG_6475It’s been a rough couple of months for those of us not lucky enough to either live in the South or West where riding is doable most of the year. We’ve had snow, ice, freezing rain (as differs from ice, go figure), below zero wind chills and frozen ground. Not very fun (or safe) for riding. I haven’t even seen the trail since fall, and our ring space keeps shrinking in size as the snow accumulates. It’s hard even getting my butt to the barn on days that I can barely get out of the house it’s so cold.

This past week, while the sun briefly peeked out though the thick cloud covering, and my little leased horse rested (growing a big belly) my trainer had the idea to take advantage of the crappy conditions and do something that I only see the up/dowers do – the longe line lesson with another sweet lesson horse. I thought, cool – I’ll take a break from aching thighs and let her drive for a while.

Wrong.

I’m sure most of you barely remember doing this as kids. Going in circles, no reins, and letting your trainer walk the pony around and around – all you had to do was stay on. This was different. Snow and ice covered the ground; we began at a walk. Cool, easy peasy. No reins today! Post the walk. Ugh. Okay, keep going. Up to a trot and post. Constant trotting, arms up, down, out to the side, behind me and then no stirrups. Try and sit the trot. Oops, quick spook, panic canter, then back on track. Post the trot. I regret thinking my thighs wouldn’t burn that day. After what seemed like a long time, we switched direction and did the whole routine over. She then asked me to close my eyes. This was a crazy feeling for me! Taking away my vision helped me pick up the correct diagonal easier, and helped me feel little Rocket underneath me, silly, but I actually felt closer to him. I also learned that I may depend on my hands WAY too much, and taking them away forced me to balance correctly.

It’s a great lesson in many ways. We helped my seat and balance, which need CONSTANT attention; helped my thighs, which get soft in winter; and helped my attitude, getting my horse fix even in the cold weather always gets me out of the doldrums. This was a great way to take advantage of what little riding we can do – give it a shot 🙂

Thank you Trainer Lisa!! Thank you!

xo

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English Western Hybrid

I’ve been stuck between riding disciplines for as long as I’ve been riding. I can’t decide whether or not I prefer the close contact, two hand reins and traditionally preppy attire of the English style, or the saddle security, freedom of having one hand free, and easy to wear (in the barn and after) Western style.

Why choose? I’m not one for limitations, so I like to get a good western trail ride on Cuervo (my cute little leased quarter horse who was Western broke) when I can, and then on other days, when I feel like posting a proper trot, I throw on my little jump saddle and practice patterns in the ring.

I’m pretty much the same when it comes to clothing. Some winter days, I want the clean polished (uptown) look of my non-riding black “breeches” with a slimming black cashmere sweater, black knee high suede boots and small stud earrings. Other days, I throw on my Haute Hippie long horn t-shirt, a pair of embellished skinny jeans, my Tony Lamas and a warm wool southwestern poncho. With regards to actual riding attire, I remember I wore my cowboy boots and jeans with my English tack and it looked equally as awkward as when I wore my tall boots in a western saddle – got lots of looks, but who cares? Cuervo could care less what I’m wearing :).

My pick for a cute hybrid outfit. Maybe this will be my Christmas outfit from Santa –

 

Mixed-discipline for hacking around either Western or English.

 

Some other fun ideas:

So, whatever your preference, mix it up!

xo

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Tack and Tweed’s Holiday Gift Guide for Winter 2014

Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide Cover
Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide Winter, 2014

Wondering what to get your horsey loved ones? We have some ideas to help you out!!!

We feature some of our favorite brands, as well as some new ones, most of which can be purchased online simply by clicking the link in the guide. For items sold by Ride Bedford, please give Courtney a call – she will personally help you with anything you need and will be sure to give you the best product at the best value.

By the way our very own Tack and Tweed limited edition cell phone covers designed by Beatrice Bulteau and made in France, may be purchased here, or by emailing me directly (Lisa@TackandTweed.com)!

Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Happy Holiday Shopping!!!

xo

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“My Pony”

“I want a pony. I want a pony more than anything else in the world.” The artist and children’s book author and illustrator, Susan Jeffers opens her book, My Pony, with these words. What little (or big) child bit by the horse bug hasn’t uttered this phrase? This is a book about a little girl, who dreams of having her own pony. Her family cannot afford one, so she draws a beautiful dappled grey mare named Silver, who becomes her dreamy equine companion.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Jeffers this past weekend at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival this past weekend, (the CCBF is one of the most notable of book festivals in the NYC area). A rider herself (in fact, she used to have a horse not too far from where my son and I ride), Jeffers’ love for horses and children’s imaginations shines through in her beautifully illustrated books.

Jeffers has been writing and illustrating picture books for over forty years. She received the Caldecott Honor for Three Jovial Huntsman and has been honored with many other awards, including the Golden Kite Award for Forest of Dreams. Susan says she realizes now that she has always done the same things. When Susan was little, her best moments were spent drawing pictures, reading stories with her parents, playing with friends and sitting by the Ramapo River dreaming of horses. This has not changed. Being a children’s book illustrator has combined all of these things.

I read it to my daughter, Annalise, yesterday and she, even at three years old, loved it; she keeps flipping through the pages, perhaps dreaming of her own pony. I’m excited to read the next pony installment, My Chincoteague Pony.

MyChPony

Susan signed a copy and made a pony sketch on the inside front page especially for Annalise. We’ll have to be careful not to beat it up too much, but it will be a book that she and I will cherish for years. Click here to see a list of her other selections available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Susan Jeffers with her now retired “pony”. 🙂

 

 

 

 

xo

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